Archana Sharma- Director, BINDU
I would like to share some observations with regard to very integral, internal, domestic, civic and basic voting rights of women that is crucial for greater understanding of a Gender perspective- an all inclusive feminist policy and approach.
As far as equal voting rights to women is concerned some developing nations and emerging democracies marched ahead of UK & US wherein women took nearly a century to win the vote in 1918 and 1920 respectively. It almost took 100 years in Sweden when finally women won the right to vote – after parliament in 1919 removed the requirement that voters had to be a man.
Though, women had the right to vote in the 1921 federal election in Canada, but – that didn’t mean ALL women in Canada. At the time, aboriginal and Asian women were NOT allowed to vote. However, most women of colour – including Chinese women, “Hindu” or East Indian women, Japanese women – weren’t allowed to vote at the provincial and federal level until the late 1940s.
And under federal law, aboriginal women covered by the Indian Act couldn’t vote for band councils until 1951, and couldn’t vote in federal elections until 1960.So, it wasn’t until 1960 that ALL Canadian women finally had the right to vote.
Women won the right to vote in national elections in Mexico in 1953 . Swiss women won the right to vote in federal elections in 1971 while in some cantons of Switzerland as recently as 1974. But Indian women got the right to vote the year their country was born in 1947.